The three lives in this creative nonfiction account are united by the presence of actual harm--sometimes horrific violence. Imarisha, dealing with the complexities of her own experience with sexual assault and accountability, brings us behind prison walls to visit her adopted brother Kakamia and his fellow inmate Jimmy "Mac" McElroy, a member of the brutal Irish gang the Westies. Together they explore the questions: People can do unimaginable things to one another--and then what? What do we as a society do? What might redemption look like? Imarisha doesn't flinch as she guides us through the difficulties and contradictions, eschewing theory for a much messier reality. The result is a nuanced and deeply personal analysis that connects readers emotionally with the lives of people caught up within, and often destroyed by, our criminal justice system.--Publisher
This book really asked me to recognize how much I don't know about the history and the actualities of our prison system, and how the many ways we do violence to each other and to ourselves are connected. Bodily autonomy and consent. Justice and revenge. Power and community. Incarceration and slavery. The challenge of living your beliefs when they hurt.